Dispatch from the Front: The Week of March 22

President Obama signs the health care bill, the Senate debates the health care reconciliation legislation, and attorneys general file lawsuits against the legislation.

President Obama’s schedule for the week is in flux, with the health care bill signing as early as Tuesday. The President will meet Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is in D.C. to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. and continues debate on H.R.1586, the FAA reauthorization bill. For the full list of amendments, see the Democratic Senate calendar. The debate on H.R. 4872, the House’s reconciliation bill, is expected to start Tuesday. The theory is that Senators will vote for a bill the House wrote to rebuke the Senate for its manifest mistakes on health care.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. today, with suspensions. Major items for floor debate this week are yet more “jobs bills” — H.R. 4849, Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act; and H.R. 4899, Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act. For the week’s floor schedule, see the Majority Leader’s report.

House Hearings: MONDAY — House Judiciary holds a hearing on design patents and replacement auto parts. The NAM has joined Original Equipment Manufacturers in opposing the legislation under consideration, H.R. 3059. TUESDAY — A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds an oversight hearing on FERC. A House Agriculture subcommittee considers rural water infrastructure. An Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, “Nuclear Power’s Federal Loan Guarantees: The Next Billion Dollar Bailout?” If that’s a serious question, the answer is no.  And it looks like someone at the Oversight Committee is a science fiction fan, judging from the other subcomittee hearing, “Rise Of The Drones: Unmanned Systems And The Future Of War.” A Science subcommittee reviews NIST and technical standards. An Ed&Labor subcommittee holds a hearing on H.R. 4855, Work-Life Balance Award Act. WEDNESDAY – House Science subcommittee, a hearing, “Supporting Innovation in the 21st Century Economy.” A separate Science subcommittee considers NASA’s exploration program. The full House Ways & Means Committee holds a hearing on China’s exchange rate policy. THURSDAY – An Energy and Commerce subcommittee commits an oversight hearing on the FCC and national broadband plan. Transportation subcommittee considers the state of the U.S. merchant fleet in foreign commerce. FRIDAY – The full House Transportation Committee holds a hearing on Recovery Act’s spending on highway, transit and wastewater infrastructure.

Senate Hearings: MONDAY – Senate Banking marks up the “Restoring American Financial Stability Act,” i.e., Sen. Dodd’s financial regulatory bill. TUESDAY – A Senate Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on the Department of Labor’s budget request, with Secretary Solis testifying. Senate Commerce holds a hearing, “Reviewing the National Broadband Plan“; Chairman Genachowski testifies. WEDNESDAY – Commerce marks up S. 773, the Cybersecurity Act, among other bills and nominations. Senate Environment and Public Works holds a hearing, “Opportunities to Improve Energy Security and the Environment through Transportation Policy.” Senate HELP Committee considers standards and assessments in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Senate Judiciary holds a confirmation hearing on a high-profile judge nominee, Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit. (Washington Post article.) THURSDAY – An Appropriations subcommittee considers NASA’s budget.

Executive Branch: Treasury Secretary Geithner speaks at the American Enterprise Institute this afternoon on financial regulation. Geithner and Vice President Biden this morning promote tax breaks available in the stimulus bill. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is in Egypt through Wednesday; on Friday he holds a news conference in Brussels with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

Economic Reports: Existing home sales data for February will be released Tuesday. Durable goods for February is expected to rise 0.7 percent when released Wednesday, Reuters reports. Wednesday also sees February numbers for new home sales. On Friday, we’ll get the revised real gross domestic product for the fourth quarter 2009. For more, see Neil Irwin’s “This Week.”




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